An APC Sen. Ajibola Bashiru has made a defence for the pay package of Ngerian senators, saying they earn less than N1 million monthly.
He might, however, be economical with the truth. Or at least he contradicts a former senator, Shehu Sani, who stated otherwise.
Bashiru made the disclosure on Thursday while speaking on the sideline of a programme organised by the Correspondents Chapel of the Kwara Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
According to him, what a senator take-home monthly is N700,000 out of which car loan of over N8 million is being deducted on a monthly basis.
Sani, however, said a senator earns N750,000 monthly, plus a biggie—N13m monthly for running costs.
Despite this contradiction, Bashiru would make bold to say whoever that stands up to say senator collects jumbo pay is that they can also contest so that they can also collect jumbo pay.
“The truth of it is that the take-home pay of a senator is about N700,000 per month. Aside from it is the car loan of over N8 million which is being deducted monthly.
“As a senator, you are entitled to six aides who are paid by the National Assembly Service Commission and they are paid directly into the account. Will you count that as my salary?
“Also, I am entitled to travel allowance and Eastacode which does not form part of the salary”, Bashiru said.
On cost of governance, the lawmaker said: “We have about 38 structure systems in the country – the Federal Government, Federal Capital Territory and the 36 states of the federation with bureaucracies.
“The personnel cost of MDAs in Nigeria runs into billions if not trillion of naira. Let’s analyse Nigerian budget and see what goes into personnel.
“We are not focusing on this, but not focusing on salaries of 109 senators and 360 representatives”.
The lawmaker added that if the National Assembly is scrapped, the country would only make marginal savings, if at all any savings, in the cost of governance.
“The issue of cost of governance goes beyond going out and attack legislators as if they are rogues.
“We must look inward to see how we can streamline our agencies, ministries and departments in such a way that is efficient and has value for money”, Bashiru said.
Amid economic crunch, Nigerians are crying foul s their lawmakers slice a huge part of the budget, over N120 bn annually, for themselves.
The House of Reps came under fire lately for planning to spend N5 bn on 400 exotic cars (N35m a piece).